Thursday, January 28, 2010

More UK Women Have Social Networking Profiles than Men

A recent eMarketer report revealed that women in the United Kingdom are more likely to have a social networking site profile than men. A study by the UK Office of Communications found that 42% of women had social networking profiles in 2009, compared to only 34% of men. The change is particularly drastic compared to 2007, when women and men were almost equal, at 22% and 21%, respectively. This is exciting news for the UK, where few women are online (79%) than men (84%). According to Karin von Adams, author of the eMarketer report, "Social networks are a primary channel for women online...According to data from Universal McCann, women's top activities on social networks in 2009 included managing their own profile." 

Indeed, content creation is the only online activity where women surpass men. The same UK Office of Communications study that, in a list of nine disparate activities, content creation was the only one where women (36%) were more likely to participate than men (28%).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Interview with Tammy Tibbetts, Founder of She's the First

Below is the transcipt of my interview with Tammy Tibbetts, founder of She's The First, a media campaign that promotes the importance of educating girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school. Tammy discussed the importance of education, her mantra of "style and substance" and how social media sets the groundwork for non-profit organizations.

 Tell me about She's the First.
She’s the First is a media campaign that promotes the importance of educating girls in developing nations. Our directory on connects you with programs to sponsor a girl's tuition. Behind-the-scenes, we're also connecting the directors of these sponsorship programs on a social network so they can troubleshoot challenges and share great ideas.

In 2010, we're focused on spreading our PSA video and building a following on Twitter and Facebook. At the same time, we believe in offline action and are tapping into the power of college women to mobilize their residential communities. When else do you get to live in such close quarters with likeminded peers, having the chance to unite them around the cause that brings you together in the first place -- education? Think of how easy it is to collect $5 or $10 from each dormmate -- the cost of a venti Starbucks latte or a movie ticket. That adds up to the cost of a year's tuition for a girl, which can be as little as $100 in some countries.

How do you think educating women will change the world?
This is such a paramount question and I have to completely defer to the two journalists who answered it best: Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who in 2009 published "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide." Their extensive research and field reporting explained how it's important to invest in educating girls because research shows that doing so: 1) makes her likely to marry later and have fewer children, 2) increases her income, which she is more likely to reinvest into her family than a man would, 3) makes her more likely to have healthy babies and pass along good hygiene. In a nutshell, when a woman is educated, she raises her family up from poverty, and strong families are the building blocks of strong nations.

Why are role models so important?
Role models give you the audacity to be fearless. They're not perfect, but their strengths give you something to emulate and focus on. With an overwhelming number of causes to support and problems to solve, focus is critical, and its nice to have your role model's mantras and inspiring achievements to draw on. For me, Ruth Whitney, the editor-in-chief of Glamour during critical decades of American feminism, is a role model because she lived by a mantra of "style and substance." Audrey Hepburn is another, because she balanced a career that was entertaining with meaningful humanitarian work.

You won Mashable's Sharing Happiness Contest, and have been using a variety of social media outlets to spread the word. What have you seen be the most effective? What hasn't worked?
Yes, our director, Christen Brandt (who is a junior at Syracuse University), won that honor for us! It's very important to keep your message simple. When taking on very complex global issues, you need to be direct and clear in your call to action. When you watch the She's the First PSA video, which we recorded with singer JoJo and young women, you know exactly what to do: bring a group of friends together, chip in for a girl's tuition, and go to to find a sponsorship program to support.

Also, when posting updates to Twitter and Facebook, it's important that you don't sound like a broken record or constant solicit people for money. We're not repeatedly tweeting, 'sponsor a girl.' Instead, we're tweeting news articles that underscore the importance of educating girls around the world and success stories. People want to follow us because they know we'll keep them well informed on the issue. Build awareness as well as call for action.

What advice could you give to non-profits trying to build an online presence?
Before launched, we had a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Make sure you have those -- if not also a YouTube and Flickr account. Social media lets you be transparent about the actions you're taking and the issues you're closely following; ultimately, transparency is what builds empathy and drives people to contribute to the change you want to make.

Social media should be the groundwork of your cause, because the greater your audience is, the greater awareness you can achieve. And the more engaged your audience is, the more action you can inspire to drive results. Unlike reading a media kit or brochure about your organization, your social media presence lets your supporters talk back to you...they listen, they learn, and then they lead.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forrester Revises Social Technographics Ladder: Women Make Up 52% Across All Categories

Forrester recently released the latest version of their social technographics report, a ladder-shaped classification of online social behavior. The original report, released over two years ago, included six categories (ignoring inactives, those who did not participate in social media). At the bottom of the ladder, spectators observed social media (blogs, reviews, etc.) without participating, and at the top, critics wrote reviews and creators blogged and uploaded video. But a crucial category was missing: active participants of social networks. That category was newly dubbed "conversationalists" in the latest version of the Forrester report.

Conversationalists are 56% women- the highest female concentration amongst the social technographics groups.They have an average household income of over $80,000, and over 40% are college educated. Although conversationalists have the highest concentration of women of all the categories, women make up 55% of joiners, and most of the other categories hover around 50%.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti has left an untold number of dead in one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries. Want to help? Mashable created a list of ways to donate. Check it out here.

Avon's Mark Brand Uses Social Media to Promote Grass-Roots Sales

The Avon brand is the archetype of traditional grass-roots marketing. And according to a recent article in the New York Times, Avon has been expanding their grass-roots business model to the youth and young adult market with their brand Mark

Avon's attempt to reach the youth market focuses on three key components:

  • A celebrity spokeswoman, Lauren Conrad, former star of MTV's reality show "The Hills"
  • Mark Representatives, i.e. the younger version of Avon Ladies
  • A "Social Beauty" campaign to strengthen the brand and promote representatives through Facebook, blogs, an iPhone application, and other social media tools

According to Annemarie Frank, director of digital media and strategic alliance of Mark at Avon, “Mark Girls can advertise their ability to sell products right on their Facebook profiles, and the widget functionality of Mark’s e-shop enables us to drop the shop into other places to give the brand a presence wherever people hang out online."

Individual representatives are encouraged to get creative with their individual campaigns. Last fall, Mark Rewards Program advertised a contest for all-expense-paid trips to the Sundance Film Festival for the two highest-selling Mark Girls. One representative, Hannah Parish, created a Facebook event, “Send Hannah to Sundance,” and invited 600 people in her network to join, as part of her strategy. She sold $6,000 worth of products and won the contest.

Mark's social media strategy works well because it is consistent with the company's overall strategy. Additionally, Mark does a great job of giving its representatives both tools and incentives, and then gets out of the way. It trusts that Mark Girls to promote the brand in an effective way that resonates with their local communities while also providing a larger framework and message. I think it is a great model that other large corporations, not only direct selling companies, could learn from.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Webutantes Featured in WE Magazine

Thank you WE Magazine for including me in their 101 Women Bloggers to Watch in 2010 list. Webutantes was selected out of hundreds of entries in a list that included Fresh eVenture and Geek Girlfriends, as well as some amazing non-technology related blogs.

Some of my personal favorites are:

Fabulously Broke in the City A city girl provides personal finance advice for women
Tout-est-des-roses  Sustainable style blog
Org Junkie Tips and tricks for living a simpler, more organized life
Somewhere i have never travelled An aptly named book review and personal blog
Solo Travel Girl Chronicling the adventures of a woman travelling alone

To see the entire list, click here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

London Technology Summit 2010

For those of you based in Europe, early bird tickets are available for the London Technology Summit, which will take place on February 19th, 2010. The theme of the conference, sponsored by London Business School, is entitled "New Models for a New Decade" and panels will include:
  • New Models for Real Value: How Companies Can Be Game Changers
  • New Models for Social Networking: Can Advertising Support Growth?
  • New Models in Telephony: Who Delivers Value? Who Gets Paid?
  • New Models for Sustainability: Save the World by Making a Profit
Last year's conference included top executives at Google, Intel, Amazon, McKinsey, Vodafone, and more. For more information or to purchase a ticket, click here.

Full disclosure: I am involved with the organization hosting the conference. 

80% of Women Fans of Brands on Social Networks

eMarketer recently reported on SheSpeak's Annual Social Media Survey about women's online behavior. Here are the highlights:

  • 80% of female Internet users have become fans of a product or brands on a social networking site
  • 72% of women have learned about or joined a group around new brands or products
  • 50% bought a product because of a social network.
  • 30% of female Internet users look at social network advertisements "sometimes", up from 13% last year
  • 9% of women "always" look at ads and often click through, compared to only 2% in 2008
According to Aliza Freud, SheSpeak's founder and CEO, "Women have become more comfortable using social media, and for marketers, the overall growth and habitual use of social media represents opportunities to reach and engage women of all ages, and influence their purchasing decisions."